Tacos Capeados

May 16, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Rem Fuller
  • Prep time 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Corn-fried fish tacos with papaya, tomatillo, and a spicy cream sauce.

For crispy fried fish, I use a mixture for the batter that has a 50/50 mix of wheat flour to corn flour or masa harina because the corn adds extra flavor but also creates a crispier crust that actually will hold its crunch even when cooled to room temperature. Before I started eating tacos capeados here in Baja and México generally, I was guilty of over-spicing my batter. I think I was trying to make the crust pull more than its fair share of the flavor lifting. However, the real artistry of taco-making is in the layering of flavor and texture. Each element contributes to a different sensation in your mouth—hot, cold, soft, crunchy, sweet, savory, and spicy. The crust in this recipe does two things: gives crunch to the taco and preserves the juicy and flaky texture of the fish. —Rick Martinez

Test Kitchen Notes

Recipe reprinted with permission from Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico (‎Clarkson Potter, May 2022).

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Tacos Capeados
  • Tacos
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) skinless halibut, cod, or other white fish fillets, cut crosswise into 16 strips
  • Morton kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (100 grams) masa harina or fine- or medium-grind cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 ounces Mexican-style pale larger beer
  • 1/2 cup sparkling mineral water, club soda, or water
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying (about 3 quarts)
  1. Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a sheet pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or up to overnight (this air-dries the surface so the batter will adhere better to the fish).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, masa harina, baking powder, baking soda, and 1¼ teaspoons (8 grams) salt. Add the beer, sparkling water, and vinegar and whisk just until combined and no lumps remain.
  3. Pour 3 inches of oil into a large heavy pot and clip on a deep-fry thermometer. Heat over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 357°F. Line a sheet pan with paper towels.
  4. Working in batches, dip the fish into the batter, allowing any excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Lower the fish carefully into the oil and fry, using tongs to turn the fish occasionally, until light golden brown and just cooked through, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the fish to the paper towels to drain.
  5. Serve the pescado capeado with tortillas, both salsas, lime wedges, and cabbage.

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Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

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